In Fall 2017, all nine University of California campuses signed on to launch a First Generation Faculty Initiative designed to bring much needed awareness and support to enhance the success of first-generation students. The First Generation Faculty Initiative was first established at UC Irvine in 2014 by Professor Anita Casavantes Bradford to heighten the visibility and approachability of faculty who were the first in their families to earn a college degree and use them as role models to serve UCI’s first-generation students who comprise 50% of the undergraduate population. The program includes a wide range of first generation events and resources, including faculty training, networking, lectures, workshops, faculty-student mixers, and social media outreach. The goal is to celebrate the courage and ambition of first-generation students and to support them in successfully overcoming economic, social, and cultural challenges in their pursuit of higher education.
UC Provost, Janet Napolitano, has applauded this initiative, noting its importance to the UC mission, stating, “UC aims to connect first-generation students with the tools necessary for academic success, to foster a sense of belonging and ownership among this critical student population, and to ensure that UC continues to serve as an engine of economic mobility for our diverse population of undergraduates.” 49% of UC’s first-generation students are African-American, Latino/Chicano, or American Indian and 39% speak English as a second language. 80% of UC’s first-generation students graduate within six years as compared with 11% nationally!
For further information on the First Generation Faculty initiative, go to https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/initiative/student-opportunity/first-generation-students